Pies may seem a little bit challenging at first, but I assure you – they’re really easy to prepare. These Strawberry Hand Pies are the best summer dessert, perfect for a picnic on a sunny day. They have a flaky, buttery homemade crust and a sweet, fresh strawberry filling, topped with sparkling granulated sugar and a generous drizzle of melted white chocolate.
Homemade Pie Crust
The general sentiment is that pie crusts are hard to make, but they definitely shouldn’t be. Here are my step-by-step instructions and important tips for guaranteed success.
- The tool that you use it’s not that important, but the dough comes together faster if you’re using a food processor. A pastry cutter or two forks are incredible options, you’ll just have to work a little bit harder.
- Dice the unsalted butter and place it back in the fridge to get really cold – it’s crucial.
- Add flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, then add the cubed butter on top. Pulse a few times if using a food processor or start mixing the butter into the flour mixture with the pastry cutter or the two forks until pea-sized.
- Once the butter has started to clump, start working with your hands.
- Add 1 tbsp of ice cold water at a time (remove the ice), kneading it into the dough. Don’t add too much water at once, or it could become too wet. The dough should still feel a little bit dry, but should come together easily.
- Divide the pie dough into two and shape them into 1 inch thick discs. Cover them tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to 5 days.
This is the easiest strawberry filling that you can imagine – you just need to stir together the 4 ingredients and let it sit for 10 minutes before adding it in the center of the circle of crust. You could also make these hand pies with any berry filling you prefer – blueberry, raspberry or blackberries would be amazing options. For a super fresh twist on this recipe, you can add some roughly chopped basil or mint leaves in the filling.
Rolling the dough and assembling the Strawberry Hand Pies
- After the dough has chilled, leave it on the counter for 20-30 minutes to be easier to roll.
- Start rolling one disc at a time on a lightly floured surface. After every few rolls, turn the dough about a quarter turn to prevent sticking. Sprinkle flour under and on top of it as needed. Roll out until it’s about ¼ – ⅛ inch thick.
- Using a large cookie cutter or a glass, start cutting the dough into circles. Re-roll any scraps and cut into circles. Place cut circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Repeat with the 2nd dough.
- Arrange half of the chilled cut circles 3 inches apart on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill with 1-2 tbsp strawberry filling, then brush the edges with egg wash.
- Place another cut circle of dough on top, press your fingers all around the edges to seal and then crimp with a fork. Make a cross with a sharp knife in the center of the top crust – this will let the steam escape.
- Brush lightly with egg wash mixture and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the top looks golden-brown.
- Let the strawberry hand pies cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to let them cool completely.
- Drizzle with melted white chocolate or sugar icing (mix ½ cup sifted powdered sugar, 1-2 tbsp milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth, adding more milk to thin it or more powdered sugar to thicken it, until your desired consistency).
Tips for perfect hand pies
- The butter and water added in the dough should be really cold! This will make the dough easier to work with and ensures a flaky crust.
- Do not overwork the dough, it will end up quite tough and not flaky enough.
- It’s ok if you see a few of larger chunks of butter throughout the dough.
- Chilling the dough is imperative – refrigerate it at least 3 hours and up to 5 days. I usually let it sit overnight.
- Use a large cookie cutter (or a glass), at least 3 inches in diameter. Otherwise, you won’t fit enough filling in a hand pie that small.
- Dice the strawberries into small bite-sized pieces – this way you can fit more into each hand pie.
Make ahead and freezing instructions
You can prepare the pie dough ahead of time – refrigerate it for up to 5 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using. The filling or the unbaked, assembled strawberry hand pies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the filling overnight in the refrigerator or bake the assembled hand pies straight away, adding 2-3 minutes of bake time. Also, the baked hand pies can be frozen for up to 3 months, thawing them in the refrigerator and bringing them to room temperature before serving.
Strawberry Hand Pies
For the pie crust
- 2 ½ cup flour all-purpose
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter cubed, very cold
- ¼ cup water ice cold
- 1 large egg for egg wash
- 1 tsp water for egg wash
- granulated sugar for topping
For the strawberry filling
- 1 ½ cups strawberries diced
- 3-4 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
For the white chocolate drizzle
- 3.5 oz white chocolate melted
- Make the pie crust: Cut butter into cubes and place back in the refrigerator to get really cold. Using a pastry cutter, two forks or a food processor, add flour, granulated sugar and salt to a bowl. Add cubed butter on top of the flour. Start cutting the butter into the mixture until pea-sized (or pulse 3-4 times if using a food processor). Knead the dough a little bit with your hands until it starts to come together. Measure ¼ cup from your ice water (it should be ice cold) and start adding it 1 tbsp at a time and knead it until just combined into the dough. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps, the dough should still feel a little bit on the dry side. Separate dough into 2 and flatten them into 1 inch thick discs. Wrap each disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 5 days.
- Roll out the pie dough: Place pie dough on the counter for 30 minutes before rolling out (to soften a little bit). On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one disc at a time. Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls to prevent sticking. Sprinkle flour as needed under the dough and on the rolling pin. Roll out until it's about ¼-⅛ inch thick. Use a large cookie cutter (or a large glass, at least 3 inches in diameter) to cut the dough into circles. Re-roll any scraps and cut into circles. Place cut circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Repeat with the 2nd pie dough.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make the strawberry filling: Dice the strawberries into small pieces and combine with the sugar, cornstarch and vanilla extract. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Fill the pies: Arrange half of the cut circles 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Place about 1-2 tbsp filling in the center of the bottom crusts. Beat the egg with 1 tsp water and brush the edges of the bottom crust (to help stick the top crust). Place the top crust over the filling, press your fingers all around the edges to seal and then crimp with a fork. Use a sharp knife to cut an X in the middle of the top crust (it lets the steam to escape). Brush the top lightly with egg wash mixture and sprinkle granulated sugar. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden-brown. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Drizzle with white chocolate: Roughly chop white chocolate (or use white chocolate chips) and microwave in 20 seconds intervals in a small bowl, stirring after every interval until melted (be careful, the bowl will get hot). Drizzle over the completely cooled strawberry hand pies. Store hand pies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.